Writing as D. M. Webb, Daphne Self is the author of the novel Mississippi Nights and the devotional book 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir.
Janet: Welcome, Daphne. I see from your blog that you’re a homeschooling mom with a lengthy to-do list and a love of travel. Scotland and Florence, Italy… what puts those diverse locations at the top of your overseas wish list?
Daphne: Thanks for having me here, Janet. It’s an honor. To answer the question, Scotland because my ancestors, the McGregors, came from Scotland. I want to travel from Oban, Scotland and across the hills to Loch Katrine. The history of the McGregors is full and rich, and I think it’s cool to have ancestors that fled the oppression during the mid 1700’s to come to America. As for Florence, Italy, I want to see the art, museums, experience the romance of Florence. Plus, I just love that name!
Janet: Oban—you just reminded me of one of my favourite Celtic songs, The Dark Island. It has the line “as the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree.” Yes, Scottish heritage is rich and gives lots of scope for writers 🙂 And there’d definitely be lots of atmosphere and culture in Florence. I hope you can visit both places one day. From a wish for the future to a look at the past: what got you started writing?
Daphne: I honestly couldn’t remember. Ever since I was a small child, I always wrote things. Just recently I found a small play that was written when I was about 8 or 9. Horrible, but pretty good for my age, though. I always made up worlds and stories to tell my sister and small cousins. Fanciful tales of unicorns, goblins, kings, queens, and knights. I don’t think I ever stopped writing. I always read, so in time the love of reading a good novel meshed into the desire to write one.
Janet: I understand your new devotional, 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir, comes out of personal experience and a desire to minister to others who may be struggling through a hard spot in life. Will you tell us a bit more about it, please?
Daphne: 30 Days was hard, but yet, easy to write. Hard because I was sharing some of the most private parts of my emotions and laying my sins out there to see. In 30 Days, I express through true stories the hardships of being a widow and single mother, and how at times I wanted to give up. What was the point? I had no help, not even from the church; I gave up my food at dinner so my kids could eat because we usually had nothing but a little bit; I cried and cried so many nights, hoping and praying for someone to help me, to not only alleviate my hurting, but to comfort me, to encourage me… but there was no one. So I thought… I eventually realized that God was there all the time, I just had to look for Him and reach out to Him. There was no magical solution, but through prayer and studying of His word, I learned to lean completely onto God for everything. 30 Days is a candid look at the temptations, trials, and emotions that anyone who suffers from divorce, widowhood, and/or single parenting and how faith in God helps someone through it all.
Janet: The Bible encourages us to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received ourselves. I pray 30 Days will get into the hands of those who need it most. If you could tell readers one key thing you’ve learned from your spiritual journey to date, what would it be?
Daphne: To always, no matter how small my faith had become, no matter if it’s smaller than a mustard seed, I am to keep my eyes on Him. No money, no food, no job, etc… keep my eyes on Him. Jesus will always see me through.
Janet: That’s something we all need to take to heart, whatever our struggles. Now, you also blog at Rebel Book Reviews. Is there a story in that title? And what kinds of books do you most enjoy?
Daphne: I chose rebel for two reasons: 1) I’m a southerner (even if I am trying to move north) and Southerners are proud to be known as rebels. 2) I buck against a society that tries to control people and against stifling rules that hinder freedom. So, I blog about those books and those writers I find that are inspiring, and sometimes not as well-known, but they are free-thinkers. As for the kinds of books: well written books. My shelves are loaded with every genre imaginable.
Janet: You write fiction, non-fiction and reviews… do you have a favourite area of focus?
Daphne: Oh, fiction, most definitely. 30 Days was a book where I was pushed into writing. The nagging thought would not leave me until I had it compiled and sent into my publishers. But fiction is my greatest love when it comes to stories.
Janet: Tell us a bit about your novel.
Daphne: Mississippi Nights is a novel that was reborn from one that I had written when I was 14. Back then it was called One Big Happy Family. And in Mississippi Nights, it is a big, happy family who goes through a troubling time. The youngest son, David, comes back home 3 years after his fiancé dies. He and his brother, Jeremy, are still at odds and still resent each other. David blames Jeremy for Rebecca’s death; but, David also brings home a terrible secret–his addiction. The book tells the story about the two brothers and their ability to overcome resentment and hate, and to bond together to help each other. And how David’s faith is reborn through it all. Of course, there’s a little love story thrown in there. Maggie, the preacher’s daughter, is the perfect person to cool the hot emotions that burn David. The town is fictional, but the places mentioned in the book are real. The setting is true Southern life and the love of family.
Janet: You have a wide range of life and job experience, and probably some research as well. What’s the most unusual item of trivia you’ve filed away for future writing?
Daphne: Minnehaha means “Little Laughing Waters”. I plan to use that in a future book. My character will be from Sioux Falls, SD and he would always wonder about that name until he meets a woman from Savannah, GA who is a walking encyclopedia.
Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?
Daphne: I use it in 30 Days: Mark 4:39 “and he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Janet: Chocolate or vanilla?
Daphne: Chocolate… Dutch chocolate to be precise.
Janet: Precision in chocolate is important! Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Daphne: Never give up, never surrender! I love that statement from Galaxy Quest, but it’s true. Never give up on writing. Never surrender to defeat. Trust God to lead you and never fear where that journey takes you.
Janet: Amen! What do you like to do to recharge?
Daphne: I watch BBC series, such as Dr. Who or Keeping Up Appearances, or maybe a little Star Trek or CSI (all three). Sometimes, it’s reading a book or playing the xBox games Disney Infinity or Plants vs. Zombie. Sometimes it’s board games (I’m addicted to Monopoly. I collect them.) It just depends.
Janet: Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.
Daphne: The lakes I live nearby. Sardis Lake and Enid Lake are just minutes away. It’s a good place to enjoy nature. I appreciate spring here, but not winter. Too wet! Plus, Mississippi is one of the freest states in the nation and it’s beautiful!
Janet: Thank you for taking time to join us today, Daphne. May the Lord bless you and your family, and bless many through your words.
30 Days: A Devotional Memoir
Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for understanding and hope? Do you wish for a closer walk with Jesus?
When a relationship ends, whether through divorce or death, it leaves us with heartache and sadness. Fear of loneliness overwhelms our soul. Anger at God consumes us. We are suddenly thrust into unknown territory, lost and bewildered.
30 Days brings you deeply moving stories to strengthen your walk and bring you closer to Christ. Author D.M. Webb shares her three year spiritual journey with a collection of thirty devotions designed to reach out and uplift those who have endured the turbulent emotions that come with divorce, widowhood, and single parenting.
Check out Daphne’s Rebel Book Reviews, and you can also find her at these links:
Find 30 Days at: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Deeper Shopping. You can connect with Daphne through: